4 November 2014


It's been a strange couple of nights since reporting back to Vegas.  Mainly down to the jet lag that has been lurking.  A series of early nights have been followed by 3 to 3.30am wake ups.  This should get better. Hopefully.
So, what's new?  What have we missed?  The first day in the office has come and gone for both of us, and as you would expect, things are still the same.  Things haven't changed, or have they?
Taking Gelert out for a walk in the woods amused me on Monday.  I found myself walking through the leaf litter, constantly scanning the ground for movement, subconsciously being 'Snake Aware' as Jane and Craig put to us on our visit to them.  If I had a beacon on my head that flashed to warn others of what I was doing, people would have wondered what on Earth I was going on about.
In a funny way, I missed the colour Green.  Walking around the close, and even in our own garden, I'd forgotten how lush the grass was in our own little wet corner of the globe.  A very different shade of green to the bush on Kangaroo Island, and in the countryside of NSW.  Perhaps one day, there will be a work of fiction published - Fifty Shades of Green - A Horticulturists Love of Grass.    The land we saw in Australia, as you might expect, was just starting to scorch.  Temperatures had been hitting the mid thirties for a while and it was telling on the pasture land around.
But, is the grass always greener on the other side?  What could we swap from each country to make the perfect country?  Does anything need swapping, or are things perfect just the way they are?  I know at least one person in the room with me would quite happily board the first flight tomorrow back out.  It certainly is an attractive prospect, all considerations made.
During our time in Australia, we caught up with old friends and family, for me, made new friends too, and covered a small corner of Australia in the process.
Rosie, you were number one on the list.  It was great to see you and catch up over breakfast.  Thanks for taking some time out to come and see us, especially so soon after returning from your own trip. We really hope all things continue going well for you and Sonja.  It was a shame she couldn't make it down to Circular Quay that morning for brekkie, but hopefully, there will be another chance in the future to make amends.
George. I'll never forget Alis face when she first noticed you scooping ice-cream in Lennox.  It was a picture.  And, if it pays better than being a CM in France, then it's a bit of a no brainer!  Thank you for the coffee on the morning of your day off, and we hope that the next 12 months you have planned travelling all over prove to be just as mad and packed as they sounded they were going to be.  Who knows where or when in the world we might run into each other again.
Craig, Jane and Sally.  It was an absolute pleasure and privilege to meet you all.  Thank you so much for showing around Byron and your farm.  Thanks also for putting us up and feeding us whilst we stayed with you, and for taking us to the Beachside Cafe. In truth, we both have so much more to thank you for.  The list will go on and on.  By the way Craig, I remembered to pack all my chargers!  They all made it home with us!
Ruth and Neal. It seems both just last year, but at the same time, much longer ago, that we saw you last in Ross Vegas.  We were delighted that you were both able to make time in your busy schedule to track us down on our little campsite whilst we were en-route to Brisbane. It was a very memorable evening that the four of us spent together in Gold Coast. Neal, firstly, I apologise if I spell your name incorrectly, but, I found the website all about the meter maids.  I am now fully educated.  And remember, if you ever need to park your car again, find a very tall spikey building, and park right outside.  You'll never forget where you left it! Thank you both for taking some time out to meet up and show us around Gold Coast.  It's somewhere that we wouldn't have visited otherwise, but am glad that we did.
Cara.  Well, where do we start?  14 years has absolutely flown by.  A huge amount has happened since we saw each other last, and you certainly have a huge amount more on your plate now than you did back then.  The very definition of multi-tasking.  It's a shame that our visit clashed with your study and exams, but your time is very precious, so it was quite significant and special that you freed some time up to meet up and we really appreciate it.  I did warn you when you left the UK that one day, I would once again track you down.  I just didn't expect it to take 14 years.  Next time, we'll try to make it a little less.  All the very best for the remainder of your course.  It will be a huge weight of your shoulders when that last assignment is handed in, and the last exam is finished.  You'll do very well.
Mark & Shelley. Thanks for introducing us to the popular Australian seaside past time of pile driving and jetty reconstruction! Seriously though, it was a pleasure to meet you both and your young family.  It was so important to Ali in particular, that she caught up with you Mark.  Once she had identified where you were whilst we were back in the UK, it went straight on the tick list of people who we had to catch up with. And, I'm sure there was a tear in Alis eye when we said our goodbyes.  You've created an excellent life for yourselves going by what you told us in the little time we spent with you. Yes, we're quite envious of it. Especially on mornings like this morning when we had ice on the card windscreens here, and Ali set off in the darker dawn skies to walk the dog. I think it's safe to say that we will meet again sooner rather than later.  It won't be 24 years this time.
And last, but by absolutely no way least, the Wood/Martin clan! We spent the majority of our trip with you. Actually, you organised most of it for us too! We can't thank you both enough for all the effort you both put in to getting things sorted for our visit to Adelaide, including the first class airport transport service.  Not to mention the whole Kangaroo Island adventure. There is a list to go through of thank yous. Perhaps a selection of them would include introducing us to the Boat Deck and Watershed.  Maybe the Barossa Valley and Glenelg also.  The BierHaus was definitely worth stopping off for, even if it was a bit weird that I was the only one drinking beer.  We must re-visit if only to pick up a growler and read the toilet walls a bit more. And thanks also for introducing me to the finer points of the Meade GoTo setup and the Southern hemisphere sky. It really is impossible for me to go through everything you did for us, and a mere "Thank you" doesn't seem enough to cover it.
So there we go, that about brings an end to our Australian Blog.  Complete with typos and spelling mistakes, bad grammar and possibly a few fabricated scandalous facts thrown for good measure. This blog was never intended to be fully read and digested but thousands of anonymous readers. In fact, we just saw it as a modern day open diary and something that we can both look back on to remind us of our trip.  We shared the links with our friends and family and left it to the individual to decide. For the people who have taken the time to read any of the entries, we thank you and hope we managed to put a smile on some faces along the way.

31 October 2014

The final days in Adelaide

Caution: this blog post may or, may not contain slanderous comment for happenings during our stay for the last couple of days in Adelaide.
Blog being types from around 30000 ft en route to Sydney :-)
The last couple of days have been a bit of a whirl wind to be honest. We posted a very quick blog entry when we arrived back at Chez Wood/Martin but managed it appears to omit anything we did that day. To backfill the gaping holes....
Yes, there were wineries involved. Visits were made to Leconfield for a light lunch and girly wine tasting. Then followed d'Arenbrug where more wine was tasted whilst Alan and I took photos of views, farm machinery and a plastic Kangaroo. No snakes or deadly spiders were found. Next winery was Rosemount, who just happened to have cases of wine on offer. The car wasn't full enough, so Miss Wood made the effort to fill what room there was left in the boot.
Still reeling from Mr Martins giant cockup of trying to insist on taking us to Myponga brewery that was closed, we made our way to some other winery. We didnt buy anything there. Apparently they only sold red wine. Ah well.
That night, we made an effort to get the telescope out and tracking again. It worked well, until the cloud rolled in. Another plan gone, but at least I got to see the set up of a GoTo system from scratch.
This brings us to Thursday, and a visit to Ingle Farm. Not so much a place for looking at animals, as looking at mad shoppers. For Ingle Farm is an out of town shopping complex. And, a purchase was made! Much to Alis disgust, and embaressment, it was cheeky shirt purchse time. Although, I did tone it down slightly from the initial plan of lots of colour and palm trees etc, in favour of blue with white flowers. I look very good in it. Then, onto Glenelg, one of the beachside suburbs of Adelaide. And a lovely place it is too. Lots of shops, cafes, resteraunts and such like. Light lunch was consumed, and following a strole around, a visit to a chocolate shop for desert.
Once we'd had our fill, it was more walkies time to try and ease off the days excesses, and wait for our next phonecall. We were expecting a call from Alis old schoolfriend, Mark and his lovely family. 24 years after they last saw each other, Mark has made his new home in Adelaide, and it proved to be a good time to catch up on over two decades of missed gossip. We also got to watch workmen pile driving new stantions into the jetty as repairs were made. I was forced to drink beer. Alan came to meet us from work. I was forced to drink more beer.
Because I was forced to drink more beer, we missed the closing time for the butchers, having a knock on effect on the planned BBQ for that night. We had to eat out. Shame. T-bone steaks were the order of the night. The bad man tried to force me into drinking more beer. This time, i was prepared and I resisted. I managed to get my hand on a nice couple of jugs instead, containing water.
The stars were another no show for our last nigt in Adelaide, and it was time to hit the pillows one last time. We said our goodbyes to Alan. He was due to leave before we even were considering getting out of bed in the morning. We must work on an action plan for him to apply the next time we come and visit, involving better organisation of stargazing weather, and opening times of breweries. :-)
And onto this morning, our final morning in Adelaide. Bags packed, and what else is there to do in 30 + degree morning sunchsine than sit outside and eat and drink. We went to the Watershed overlooking a small lake and ate. We ate a bit more and drank. Brekkie was good this morning. The weather is very warm, and the wind isn't providing its normal cooling effect as its coming from the wrong direction. Its days like today that aircon in vehicles and buidlings is mandatory.
Ali brought us to Adelaide airport and very kindly stuck with us throughout up until we joined the queue for boarding. We've said our goodbyes and bring to a close our visit to Adelaide and our very good friends, Ali and Alan. We've got excellent memories to take back to te UK with us.
Tonight, we book into our hotel at the airport. We need an early night as we need to be up and at the airport by 3.30am local time in the, morning. This is when the fun of jetlag starts. It wasn't so bad coming out, but from our travels to NZ in 2011, I know it comes back to bite you going back home.

29 October 2014

Back into civilisation

En route from the island to the mainland, and connectivity is restored! Yesterday (28th) was a day of exporing the North of the island, and also the big smoke, Kingscote.
Highlights of the day:
1. Stokes Bay
2. Emu Bay with a dissapointing lack of emus.
3. Light luch in Kingscote.
4. Ice cream in Vivonne Bay store and bottle shop with two leases for sale.
5. Commedy moment when Alan tipped up the picnic bench all on his own.
6. Pulling out on a T junction in front of a black SUV.
7. Overhearing locals at the table next to us describing the welsh as 'unusual', and as having 'their own language and everything'.

Wildlife tally inclueded 2 koalas - road kill. 1 Koala alive in the trees. Lots of wallaby road kill. Lots of kangaroo roadkill. Lots of possum roadkill. Lots of unidentified road kill. However, this mornings wildlife tally is much better. Whilst driving to the ferry. One koala bidding to become roadkill, but avoiding it. Several KI roos. Some wallabies. Dolphins.

Todays lowlights.
1. Not going to Myponga brewery.
2. No stargazing. Technically, a lowlight from last night, not tonight.